The New Juice In Emporda, Catalunya

Posted by Niclas Jansson on

First of all, we want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in the last few months! We’ve had some crazy growth, which is why our podcast, blog, and every other non-mission critical thing we do fell off the radar for a bit, but we’re back and plan to get the content train back on track!

During the last month or so we’ve had some very exciting drops just haven’t had the time to adequately announce, so we'll be releasing a few blog posts in the next few weeks trying to catch up on everything.

New Catalan Producers!

We added a couple AWESOME winemakers up in Emporda, which is the northeastern most corner of Spain. They are both making amazing juice with very different philosophies.

Vinyes Tortuga

We had heard about Vinyes Tortuga from some friends in Barcelona and tried one of their bottles when we saw it at our local wine shop. The fun labels suck you in, but the wines themselves are outstanding and quite singular in the way they taste! The young Dutch couple has been together across multiple continents making wine and decided to make Emporda their forever winemaking home. They're a music-loving duo and the wines reflect that, with fun labels, complexity, and creativity.

 

About Dido and Jurriaan

The story of how they started their vineyard and winery is also quite fun and unique! The two actually crowdfunded buying their entire vineyard and had their first vintage in 2018, so everything is quite new from them and we’re very excited to be carrying their wines! Both have made conventional and natural wines and are passionate about keeping sulfur to the lowest level possible, and ideally zero wherever possible. Follow them on Instagram to see what they're up to.

Fun Fact

Each year of their vintages they are adding a bit more color to the labels, so they will be brighter and brighter each year!

The Vineyard

Located in Alt-Emporda, a.k.a. Upper Emporda, their land has unbelievable views on both sides with the ocean and Costa Brava on one side and the mountains behind them. It creates a wonderful climate for their grapes and allows them to more easily farm organically. They farm 9.5 hectares of grapes, primarily tried-and-true varieties like Carignan and Garnaxta, but they’re also experimenting with things like Barbara as well! 

vinyes tortuga vineyard and team

The Cellar

Tortuga wines are experimental! As a newer project (this is their third vintage), there is still a LOT to learn - about how their vineyards, their winemaking styles, and how to get the most out of the parcels they have. The cellar gives off that kind of vibe too. Hip-hop inspired, lights strung out, and mad-scientist clay post with labels like "DIDO'S EXPERIMENT" on them abound. 

tinaja vinyes tortuga

vinyes tortuga cellar visit

dido voorma vinyes tortuga

The Wines

Juicy

Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: 13 mg/L
Alcohol: 12%
Varietal: Grenache, Merlot
Production: Organic, Vegan

This wine has a cult following in Europe and we were stoked to grab some for the US! As you might guess from the name, this wine is fruity, juicy, deliciousness and exactly what you want to be drinking on a warm summer day!

juicy vinyes tortuga

Magic Potion

Type: Sparkling, Red
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: 14 mg/L
Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Glou Glou, Party Wine, Hype Juice

Pet Nat Party! Amazing color and tastes as lush as it looks with strawberries and red fruit. Perfect summer wine to share with friends!

magic potion vinyes tortuga

Hurdy Gurdy

Type: Red
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: 12mg/L
Alcohol: 13%
Varietal: Cabernet Franc, Merlot
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

Very unique Cab Franc and Merlot blend with light tannin, fresh red berries, salinity, and licorice. A red you can serve with a chill and plays nicely with all kinds of lighter foods you wouldn't normally put red wine with!

hurdy gurdy tortuga

Hunky Dory

Type: Red
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: 11mg/L
Alcohol: 13%
Varietal: Grenache
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

Light and fresh Grenache with carbonic giving it lots of juicy qualities but also a backbone of minerality that makes it more complex than you'd initially expect. 

hunky dory

Doolittle

Type: Red
Vintage: 2018
Sulfites: 10 mg/L
Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: Barbera, Grenache
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

One of the most fun versions of the Barbera grape we've seen! The most austere of Tortuga's wines, it's perfect for sharing over a meal and can be enjoyed in any season!

doolittle vinyes tortuga

RIM

We met Jordi the day after we met the Vinyes Tortuga team on their recommendation. Jordi is another "newcomer" to Emporda, and is playing a unique role as a winemaker and historian of sorts. Tradition and history are incredibly important to Jordi. Rabos has seen a population decline as younger people move out of the area, and people like Jordi are playing a key role in its revitalization. He recognizes the importance of the knowledge that the older generation of Rabos have. As such, he's working hard to preserve this knowledge - of winemaking, olive oil, farming, and much more. Emporda is a special location with a special energy that has an important historical role in the history of Catalunya.

jordi esteve holly berrigan

The mission of RIM is to recover lost vineyards and create wines that are expressive of Emporda, a land where the mountains on the border of Spain and France meet the Mediterranean sea. In fact, the Contraban line of wines have historical significance themselves. These old-vine wines are named as such because they were literally considered contraband once, smuggled out of Catalunya into France and neighboring Aragon.

rim jordi esteve vineyard

The day we meet Jordi was a beautiful December day in Emporda. We met him as he was working out in the vineyards pruning his Carignan vines. True to his nature, he had set out a wonderful spread of bread, cheese, pate, olives, honey, and his wines (all local of course). It was at that moment that we fell in love with this region of Spain. We could see the ocean nearby, the mountains on the horizon, and were able to appreciate the honesty that reflects the gastronomy of the area. No joke, we seriously considered moving up to Emporda after this day. If only my Catalan was better!

rim-emporda

The Wines

rim bottles at vella terra wine fair

 Jordi mostly works with all varieties of Garnaxta (Noir, Blanc, and Gris) as well as some Carinyena, and a field blend that includes Macabeu and Picpoul. He works in all shades of the rainbow, from Red to White and Orange and Rose. Reclaiming historical vineyards is important, as well as working with grapes that have historical significance to the region.

Sarau Negre '19

Type: Red
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: Carignan, Grenache
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Glou Glou, Party Wine

Great vegetal notes on the nose but a fuller palate with red fruits and licorice. This mine isn't meant to be taken too seriously and is great for lighter meats, fun barbecues, and time with friends.

sarau negre rim

Sarau Blanc '19

Type: White, Orange
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 13%
Varietal: Grenache Gris, Macabeu
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Glou Glou, Party Wine

Jordi's fun skin contact wine from Grenache Gris and Macabeu that gives it almost a salmon color! We get apples, mint, and strawberry rhubarb pie from it with a waxy finish like Chenin. Delicious with or without food!

sarau blanc rim

Vides Velles '18

Type: Red
Vintage: 2018
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 13.5%
Varietal: Carignan
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

vides velles rim

Jan Blanc '18

Type: White, Orange
Vintage: 2018
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 12.5%
Varietal: Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Macabeu, Picapoll, Carignan Blanc
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Complex, Cellar

jan blanc rim

Jan Negre '18

Type: Red
Vintage: 2018
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 14.5%
Varietal: Carignan
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Complex, Cellar

jan negre rim

Contraban '19

Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 13%
Varietal: Grenache, Macabeu
Production: Organic, Co-Ferment, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

A savory and deep rose from Grenache and Macabeu with a co-ferment that gives it a dark color but vibrant nose and pallet from the white grapes. Great for pairing because of its heft, but still delicate enough to match lighter foods without overpowering.

contraban rim bottle

Mas Dels Fils '19

Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2019
Sulfites: Minimal
Alcohol: 13%
Varietal: Grenache
Production: Organic, Vegan
Style: Food Wine

 mas dels fils rim

In offering these wines, we hope that you feel what we feel when we drink them. This is true Catalunya. While we don't live there anymore, these wines immediately bring us back to the area. There's a special, symbiotic relationship here with the sun, the wind, the sea, and the mountains that combine to create wines that are truly unique and express the terrior unlike many other places in the world. 

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